Drago Ristorante

Courtesy of Drago Ristorante

LA’s Peterson Automotive Museum is Now Home to Drago Ristorante

Contributor
Classic cars and Sicilian food merge at this modern mid-Wilshire museum
 Drago Ristorante

Courtesy of Drago Ristorante

A modern dining room is a nice contrast to classic cars.

Reflecting the streamline modernism of the automotive museum it’s housed in, the new Drago Ristorante at the Peterson Automotive Museum brings classic contemporary Italian fare to Museum Row.

The restaurant, which replaced the retro Johnny Rockets, is the latest from the Drago brothers — Giacomino, Celestino, Tanino, and Calogero — who also run Celestino, Il Pastaio, Drago Centro, and Il Fornaio Beverly Hills.

Designed by Felderman Keatinge and Associates, Drago Ristorante mixes swooping lines; hammered steel; a bright red, fuchsia, orange, black, and white custom mural by Stanley Felderman; minimalist white tables; and a long gold and beige banquette for a modern feel. The open design allows diners to view the latest cars on display in the lobby. (Cars and food together may be something of a trend in Southern California: Porsche has a “secret” restaurant at its Experience Center south of downtown LA.)

The menu offers wood-fired pizzas and homemade pastas. Appetizer standouts include panzanella with lobster, tomato, and spelt; pan-roasted octopus; a charcuterie platter; and an assortment of roasted and marinated vegetables.

Pastas include squid ink potato gnocchi with cured tuna roe; cavatelli with venison ragù; bowtie pasta with prosciutto and vodka sauce; and risotto with butternut squash. Main courses focus on Italian-inspired meats and seafoods like scallops with polenta, braised short ribs, and branzino. A nice assortment of pizzas includes roasted vegetable; prosciutto and mozzarella; smoked salmon and pickled onions; and mozzarella and tomato.

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Stick around for the tiramisù and house-made gelatos before driving off.